Group of 7 Dwarfs: Future-blind and Warning-deaf
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 25 Jun 2018
Self-Righteous Immoral Imperative Enabling Future Human Sacrifice
Produced on the occasion of the Informal “mini-summit” on migration and asylum convened by the European Commission in anticipation of a meeting of the European Council to discuss migration issues (June 2018)
Many commentators have raised questions regarding the disastrous failure of the gathering in June 2018 of the Group of 7 leaders of the most advanced economic powers of the world (Opinion: Time to scrap the G7, DW, 11 June 2018; The G-7 Fiasco: it’s time to isolate Donald Trump, Spiegel Online, 11 June 2018; Trump trade fury torpedoes Canada’s G7 summit, AFP, 10 June 2018). This has been exemplified by its feeble communique.
In a time of multiple crises, the only striking outcome of the gathering — framed as unquestionably positive — was the collective commitment to fund the education of women and girls, most notably in the impoverished countries of the world (Canada and partners announce historic investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations, 9 June 2018). With respect to the flow of refugees into Europe which this funding is notably designed to address, Europe is so conflicted about the matter that it has no means of applying its intellectual, political or strategic resources to discussing the matter, to discussing about how to discuss about the matter, or to discuss that surreal condition. In that context this can be recognized as hypocrisy of the highest degree — obscuring implication in a form of immorality with disastrous future implications. It can be understood as a demonstration of the level of cowardice cultivated with respect to global leadership by the international community (International Community as God or Sorcerer’s Apprentice? 2015).
The period was also witness to the symbolic refusal to permit refugees from Africa to land in Italian ports. Framed as a humanitarian mission, and an exemplification of the highest values of the international community, the extent to which such “humanitarian” assistance should be reframed as “blackmail” is beyond the scope of reasonable discourse. The exchange of “insults” in that regard between France and Italy (immediately following their meeting at the G7) has become characteristic of EU disarray on a migration policy defined by Germany, also a member of the G7 (Katya Adler, EU’s Mediterranean migrant crisis: Just a mess or cynical politics? BBC News, 13 June 2018)
Taken together, these two processes give a degree of focus to the nature of the “question which is not asked” — and which cannot be permitted by those whom the future will have every reason to recognize as the “People of the Lie” (Scott Peck, People of the Lie: the hope for healing human evil, 1983). In the 21st Century, such a question could be understood as inherent in the skillful cultivation of the “Big Lie” of the times (Existential Challenge of Detecting Today’s Big Lie: mysterious black hole conditioning global civilization? 2016). The perversity is evident in the manner in which initiatives upheld as beyond reasonable criticism are used as a form of “humanitarian shield” to disguise profound inadequacy with both strategic and moral dimensions.
The question explored here is whether the short-term focus in both cases exemplifies a form of perverse avoidance of the implications for the medium and long-term future — and the sacrifices then to be engendered as a consequence. Such short-termism may well be construed by the future as one of the greatest crimes against humanity — associated with greater levels of human sacrifice than have ever been seen in the past. With appropriate political incorrectness, are the “Group of 7 Dwarfs” gathered in this way to be better caricatured as a “Group of 7 Moral Midgets”?
However it would be too easy to engage with the “Group of 7 Moral Midgets” by attributing particular blame to them. This would simply be an imitation of the blame-game they play among themselves. As “our leaders” at the highest level, they are very much our own creations and a reflection of our own moral dwarfism. However any Big Lie is being engendered, it is we who are “living the lie”. It is within that lie that “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The paradox of any reactive response is usefully illustrated by the insight of Stafford Beer in the Chairman’s Address to the International Cybernetic Congress (The Cybernetic Cytoblast: management itself, September 1969):
Le Chatelier’s Principle: Reformers, critics of institutions, consultants in innovation, people in short who ‘want to get something done’, often fail to see this point. They cannot understand why their strictures, advice or demands do not result in effective change. They expect either to achieve a measure of success in their own terms or to be flung off the premises. But an ultra-stable system (like a social institution)… has no need to react in either of these ways. It specializes in equilibrial readjustment, which is to the observer a secret form of change requiring no actual alteration in the macro-systemic characteristics that he is trying to do something about.
If one is caught in a lie, what can one then do about it? If one is unconsciously anticipating disaster — perversely looking forward to “something happening” in an essentially monotonous life — is there a more healthy response? Do health arguments to smokers, drug users and dangerous drivers carry much weight — or reprimanding sinfulness? Why should “sinners” be expected to act otherwise?
The question is whether there is a more artful way of engaging with the current condition.
There is clearly no lack of studies of relevance to the challenges of the times and on the inadequacy of global governance. The situation calls for framing otherwise — and succinctly. The political and strategic emphasis on “vision” and “optics”, suggests the need for corrective “lenses” given the associated metaphors which then merit attention (myopia, astigmatism, and the like). However there is then a case for exploring “future blindness” — especially on the part of leadership
To that metaphor could be added those frequently associated with that disadvantage (Cyclopean Vision vs Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006; Developing a Metaphorical Language for the Future, 1994). Hence the reference here to “deafness” to warning signals — complicated by increasing discrimination against whilstleblowers and dissent.
Curiously the paradoxical nature of the challenge was framed millennia ago in terms of the Three Wise Monkeys — however their chosen constraints are to be interpreted to include “turning a blind eye” and “willful blindness“. The paradox is further illustrated by two classical tales — The Emperor’s New Clothes (1837) and The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Entangled Tales of Memetic Disaster: mutual implication of the Emperor and the Little Boy, 2009).
More striking is the framing offered by use of “an elephant”, whether unseen “in the room”, or described by six or seven blind men (according to different traditions). In this exercise, the men are framed as dwarfs in order to highlight the complex dynamics through the widely familiar tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, especially in the light of a surprising number of interpretations from a psychoanalytic perspective — whether Jungian or Freudian. The latter is especially relevant to the tendency of members of the Group of Seven to express their political commitment to “being great again” — possibly imagined as some form of global dominance. The fairy tale helps to frame the question as to who indeed is “Snow White” — as the embodiment of the highest human values?
The quality of G7 global leadership, informed by this naive aspiration, is explored here as a failure to address underlying systemic issues — through future blindness and warning deafness. This systemic neglect, in a situation of considerable gravity, is seen as enabling high levels of future human sacrifice and suffering.
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